World Teachers Day

imageWorld Teachers’ Day, has been held annually on October 5 since 1994, to commemorate teachers’ organizations worldwide. Its aim is to gain support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. According to UNESCO, World Teachers’ Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.

Education International (EI) (the global union federation that represents education professionals worldwide) strongly believes that World Teachers’ Day should be internationally recognized and celebrated around the world. EI also believes that the principles of the 1966 and 1997 Recommendations should be considered for implementation in all nations.

Over 100 countries observe World Teachers’ Day. The efforts of Education International and its 401 member organizations have contributed to this widely spread recognition. Every year, EI launches a public awareness campaign to highlight the contributions of the teaching profession.

International Day of No Prostitution

International Day of No Prostitution (IDNP) is observed annually on 5 October as a manner of opposing prostitution. In 2005, the University of the Philippines Institute of Human Rights and the Asia-Pacific chapter of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) organized an IDNP event at which they discussed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. Other Locations at which IDNP was observed in its inaugural year included the San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. In 2008, there was an IDNP candlelight vigil in Phoenix, Arizona. The vigil took place again in 2010, and city leaders and former prostitutes were among the participants.

In 2010, CATW observed IDNP by opposing the decision in Bedford v. Canada to strike down Canada’s anti-prostitution laws.A group of former human trafficking victims and sex workers in Canada also opposed the striking down of these laws; they picketed a courthouse in downtown Toronto, Ontario in recognition of IDNP. Picketers included Natasha Falle, Trisha Baptie, Bridget Perrier, Katarina MacLeod, and Christine Barkhouse. At the protest, Falle said that “only 1% of prostitutes say they enjoy sex with johns and 97% say they want to get out.” Baptie asked “Why do we think it’s OK for men to buy sex? How is that a sign of an egalitarian society?” In 2011, People Working Against Prostitution, an organization in the Philippines, expressed their disappointment that the Cagayan de Oro city council did not host any events in recognition of IDNP.

Brian Johnson (AC/DC)

Brian Johnson, the Lead singer with AC/DC celebrates his birthday on the 5th October. Formed in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who have remained the sole constant members. AC/DC are Commonly classified as hard rock and are considered pioneers of heavy metal and are sometimes classified as such, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply “rock and roll”. To date they are one of the highest grossing bands of all time. AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on 17 February 1975.Membership subsequently stabilised until bassist Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams in 1977 for the album Powerage. Within months of recording the album Highway to Hell, lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on 19 February 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but Scott’s parents urged them to continue and hire a new vocalist.

Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Scott. Later that year, the band released their highest selling album, and ultimately the third highest-selling album by any artist, Back in Black. The band’s next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was their first album to reach number one in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and was replaced by future Dio drummer Simon Wright, though the band resurged in the early 1990s with the release of The Razors Edge. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 (after Chris Slade, who was with the band from 1989–1994, was asked to leave in favour of him) and contributed to the band’s 1995 album Ballbreaker.Since then, the band’s line-up has remained the same. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well received by critics, and the band’s latest studio album, Black Ice, was released on 20 October 2008. It was their biggest hit on the charts since For Those About to Rock, reaching No.1 on all the charts eventually.

As of 2010, AC/DC had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States alone. Back in Black has sold an estimated 49 million units worldwide, making it the third highest-selling album by any artist, and the second highest-selling album by any band, behind Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The album has sold 22 million units in the U.S. alone, where it is the fifth-highest-selling album of all-time. AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1′s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” and were named the seventh “Greatest Heavy Metal Band of All Time” by MTV. In 2004, AC/DC were ranked number 72 in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In 2010, AC/DC were ranked number 23 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Wright Flyer III

On 5 October 1905 Wilbur Wright piloted Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.The Wright Flyer III was the third powered aircraft built by the Wright Brothers. Orville Wright made the first flight with it on June 23, 1905. The Flyer III had an airframe of spruce construction with a wing camber of 1-in-20 as used in 1903, rather than the less effective 1-in-25 used in 1904. The new machine was equipped with the engine and other hardware from the scrapped Flyer II and—after major modification—achieved much greater performance than Flyers I and II.As initially built, the Flyer III looked almost the same as its predecessors and offered equally marginal performance. Orville suffered minor injuries in a serious nose-dive crash in the machine on July 14, 1905.

When rebuilding the airplane, the Wrights made important design changes. They almost doubled the size of the elevator and rudder and moved them about twice the distance from the wings. They added two fixed half-moon shaped vertical vanes (called “blinkers”) between the elevators (but later removed) and widened the skid-undercarriage which helped give the wings a very slight dihedral. They disconnected the rudder of the rebuilt Flyer III from the wing-warping control, and as in most future aircraft, placed it on a separate control handle. They also installed a larger fuel tank and mounted two radiators on front and back struts for extra coolant to the engine for the anticipated lengthy duration flights. When testing of Flyer III resumed in September, improvement was obvious. The pitch instability that had hampered Flyers I and II was brought under control. Crashes, some of which had been severe, no longer occurred. Flights with the redesigned aircraft started lasting over 20 minutes. The Flyer III became practical and dependable, flying reliably for significant durations and bringing its pilot back to the starting point safely and landing without damage.On October 5, 1905 Wilbur made a circling flight of 24 miles (38.9 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds,over Huffman Prairie, longer than the total duration of all the flights of 1903and 1904. Four days later, they wrote to the United States Secretary of War William Howard Taft, offering to sell the world’s first practical fixed-wing aircraft.

To keep their knowledge from falling into competitors’ hands, the Wrights stopped flying and disassembled the airplane on November 7, 1905. Two and a half years later, having won American and French contracts to sell their airplane, they refurbished the Flyer with seats for a pilot and passenger, equipped it with upright control levers and installed one of their new 35-horsepower in-line vertical engines. They shipped it to North Carolina and made practice flights near Kill Devil Hills from May 6 to 14, 1908 to test the new controls and the Flyer’s passenger-carrying abilities.On May 14, 1908, Wilbur flew mechanic Charles Furnas (1880–1941) 1,968 feet (600 m) in 29 seconds, making him the first airplane passenger.the same day, Orville also flew with Furnas, this time 2,125 feet (648 m) in 4 minutes 2 seconds. Orville’s flight with Furnas was seen by newspaper reporters hiding among the sand dunes; they mistakenly thought Wilbur and Orville were flying together. He is one of the few people to fly with both Wright brothers (their sister Katharine being another).Later that day, Wilbur was flying solo when he moved one of the new control levers the wrong way and crashed into the sand, suffering bruises. The Flyer’s front elevator was wrecked and the practice flights ended. Due to deadlines for their upcoming public demonstration flights in France and Virginia, the Wrights did not repair the airplane and it never flew again.

The Wright Flyer III was left in its damaged condition in the North Carolina hangar. In 1911 the Berkshire Museum of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, through one Zenas Crane, obtained most of the components from both the abandoned Flyer and the 1911 Wright glider, but never assembled or exhibited them. The parts of the 1905 aircraft remained in Massachusetts for almost forty years, until Orville requested their return in 1946 for the Flyer’s restoration as a central exhibit at Edward A. Deeds’ Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio. Some Kitty Hawk residents also possessed pieces of the 1905 airplane; Deeds and Orville also obtained many of these for the restoration. At the end of the 1947–1950 restoration process, craftsmen estimated that the 1905 aircraft retained between 60 and 85% of its original material. The 1905 airplane is now displayed in the Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Carillon Historical Park. The aircraft and display are part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The restored 1905 Wright Flyer III is the only fixed-wing aircraft to be designated a National Historic Landmark.

And now for something completely different…

The first episode of British sketch comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC One on the 5th October 1969. created by the comedy group Monty Python ( Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones and Michael Palin and Graham Chapman The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines. It also featured Terry Gilliam’s wonderful and imaginatively bizarre animations, often sequenced or merged with live action.

Broadcast by the BBC. with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, The show often targets the idiosyncrasies of British life, especially that of professionals, and is at times politically charged, and over the years many of the sketches have attained classic status including The Lumberjack Song, Ministry of Silly Walks, Upper class twit of the Year,Spam song, The Dead Parrot Sketch and Bicycle Repair Man. The members of Monty Python were all highly educated. Terry Jones and Michael Palin are Oxford University graduates; Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Graham Chapman attended Cambridge University; and American-born member Terry Gilliam is an Occidental College graduate, they also did a few movies including Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

Their comedy is often pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures. The series followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his groundbreaking series Q5, rather than the traditional sketch show format. The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise, and succeeded so completely that the adjective “Pythonesque” was invented to define it and, later, similar material.The Pythons play the majority of the series characters themselves, including the majority of the female characters, but occasionally they cast an extra actor. Regular supporting cast members include Carol Cleveland (referred to by the team as the unofficial “Seventh Python”), Connie Booth (Cleese’s first wife), series Producer Ian MacNaughton, Ian Davidson, Neil Innes (in the fourth series), and the Fred Tomlinson Singers (for musical numbers).The series’ theme song is the first segment of John Philip Sousa’s The Liberty Bell, chosen because it was in the public domain, free to use without charge. Since Monty Python split in the mid 1970’s they have starred in movies individually and Terry Gilliam has gone on to be a successful director, directing films such as Brazil and 12 Monkeys.

Seymour Cray

American electrical engineer and supercomputer architect Seymour Cray sadly passed away on October 5, 1996 (age 71) from head and neck injuries he had sustained in a traffic collision on September 22, 1996. Born September 28, 1925 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin . His father was a civil engineer who fostered Cray’s interest in science and engineering. As early as the age of ten he was able to build a device out of Erector Set components that converted punched paper tape into Morse code signals. Subsequently The basement of the family home was given over to the young Cray as a “laboratory”.

Cray graduated from Chippewa Falls High School in 1943 before being drafted for World War II as a radio operator. He saw action in Europe, and then moved to the Pacific theatre where he worked on breaking Japanese naval codes. On his return to the United States he received a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1949. He also was awarded a M.Sc. in applied mathematics in 1951.In 1951, Cray joined Engineering Research Associates (ERA) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. ERA worked with computer technology and a wide variety of basic engineering too and became an expert on digital computer technology, following his design work on the ERA 1103, the first commercially successful scientific computer.

He remained at ERA when it was bought by Remington Rand and then Sperry Corporation in the early 1950s At the newly formed Sperry-Rand, ERA became the “scientific computing” arm of their UNIVAC division.. By 1960 he had completed the design of the CDC 1604, an improved low-cost ERA 1103 that had impressive performance for its price range. Cray also designed its “replacement”, the CDC 6600, which was the first commercial supercomputer,to outperform everything then available by a wide margin, and later released the 5-fold faster CDC 7600in the middle of the 7600 project, A new Chippewa Lab was set up in his hometown although it does not seem to have delayed the project. After the 7600 shipped, he started development of its replacement, the CDC 8600. It was this project that finally ended his run of successes at CDC in 1972 and Although the 6600 and 7600 had been huge successes in the end, both projects had almost bankrupted the company, and Cray decided to start over fresh with the CDC STAR-100.

After an ammicable split Cray he started Cray Research in a new laboratory on the same Chippewa property. After several years of development their first product was released in 1976 as the Cray-1 which easily beat almost every machine in terms of speed, including the STAR-100. In 1976 the first full system was sold to the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Eventually, well over 80 Cray-1s were sold, and the company was a huge success financially.

Next he worked on the Cray-2, while other teams delivered the two-processor Cray X-MP, which was another huge success and later the four-processor X-MP. When the Cray-2 was finally released after six years of development it was only marginally faster than the X-MP. In 1980 he started development on the Cray 3 which was fraught with difficulty, and Cray decided to spin off the Colorado Springs laboratory to form Cray Computer Corporation, taking the Cray-3 project with them, sadly The 500 MHz Cray-3 proved to be Cray’s second major failure. So Cray starting design of the Cray-4 which would run at 1 GHz and outpower other machines.

Sadly In 1995 there had been no further sales of the Cray-3, and the ending of the Cold War made it unlikely anyone would buy enough Cray-4s to offer a return on the development funds. The company ran out of money and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 24, 1995. Cray then set up a new company, SRC Computers, and started the design of his own massively parallel machine. The new design concentrated on communications and memory performance, the bottleneck that hampered many parallel designs, subsequently SRC Computers carried on development and now specializes in reconfigurable computing.